We can’t help it
Resolutions get a bad rap, especially this time of year.
It may be true that most New Year’s resolutions are soon ‘forgot’, but that doesn’t mean we should abandon resolution making all together.
Every day (every moment, for that matter) represents an opportunity to reinforce the old or bring in the new.
Being human means we make resolutions all year long because we are continually trying to self-correct in order to be healthier and wiser. OK, wealthy too.
As long as we’re going to make commitments aimed at self-improvement, let’s do it in ways in which we’re likely to follow through. Even though it’s often the hardest part, we know follow through is the key.
How then do we create plans that we will stick with and which won’t just fall by the wayside?
- Give some thought to why you’re resolving to do something. If your reason for doing something is powerful enough, your motivation will sustain you when the going gets tough. In coaching, when my client gets a bit emotional when talking about his/her vision for health, I know I’ve uncovered a powerful force which can be used as fuel for creating change.
- Think in terms of incremental change (see last week’s post about little steps). We all know that to accomplish really big stuff in life we often need to take many steps (thousands maybe) in a consistent direction. Giant steps work too, but it’s the small ones, when undertaken frequently, which tend to have the greatest value in terms of momentum.
- Spell it out in great detail, ideally in writing or in some visual way (some people use a vision board). When we convert mental images into more tangible forms, using many senses, our ideas become richer and more deeply embedded in our consciousness.
- Make a ritual of reaffirming your resolution(s) first thing each morning. Just like exercise and meditation (to use only a couple of examples), when we ‘practice’ early in the day, we set a positive tone for the rest of the day. In the process, we also get a nice boost psychologically from having successfully engaged in a smart/healthy behavior.
- Devise ways to re-visit your plan frequently. Personally, I find sticky notes, strategically placed, to be a simple yet effective medium for creating little ads to myself that serve to remind me of my most important goals for the day (look for a future post on how best to advertise to one’s self).
Whether it’s walking more each day, cutting back on desserts, learning a new language, getting involved with a non-profit whose mission resonates with our values, or (think of your own resolutions) – by following these suggestions you can increase the probability that a month from now you will still be on track with your most important resolutions.
Wishing you steady progress in the year ahead!